Surveying tools

If you want to put down a patio, then one way in which you can do this is to lay patio slabs. It is not common for people to lay their own patio, as they prefer to leave it in the hands of experts, but if you like, you can choose to lay down some patio slabs yourself. This will save you money and help you to avoid a lot of inconvenience while builders work in your garden. Choosing to lay patio slabs yourself is hard work, but the rewards of the end result should make up for any struggles that you may experience during the installation.

Step 1 - Prepare the Ground

Before you begin laying the ground, you will need to have the patio area cleared. Remove any weeds, stones or other debris from the area, and make sure that you give the soil a good brush in order to remove any over looked items. You should also examine the area for drain covers, utility charge meters, and other pipeworks which could be damaged when you install the patio. Look at the ground carefully to make sure that it is flat but well-drained in order to keep groundwater from flowing away when possible. If it is not as flat as you would like, then you can use a power tool such as a compactor or roller to ensure that it is as firm and level as you can make it.

Step 2 - Work out the Ratios

You then need to measure the area and calculate how many slabs you will be able to fit into the area. You will be laying mortar along the slabs in order to keep them in position, so calculate this into the final amount of slabs you will need. You should then mark out the area of the slabs using your string and some camping pegs. You should use a square in order to make sure that the edges of your patio are perfectly square.

Step 3 - Laying the Slabs

Add a layer of sand to the top soil, and then add a layer of stone or gravel, which will help to keep the ground draining correctly. Level off the soil once you have done this. Take your first slab and lay it up against the side of your building or along the wall of your garden. Use your trowel to lay some mortar alongside the slab, and then cover the underside of the slab with mortar. Tap it down using the trowel handle. Spread out some more mortar and lay the next slab.

Step 4 - Finishing

Once you have laid two slabs side by side, use the spacing tools to keep the slabs from compacting onto each other. Use the spirit level to prevent the slabs from being fitted irregularly, and then leave them to dry. Once the mortar is fixed, brush down with a solid broom in order to remove loose mortar and debris.

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